Genocide in Gaza stretches past 100 days

Palestinian mourn a child at al-Najjar hospital in Rafah, southern Gaza, on 19 December 2023. More than two dozen people, including journalist Adel Zoroub, were killed in Israeli airstrikes that destroyed three residential buildings in Rafah.

Mohammed Zaanoun ActiveStills

Israel pounded Gaza from air, land and sea while Palestinian resistance groups fought back against its ground forces as the genocidal war stretched beyond 100 days and Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to press on.

“We will not compromise on anything less than total victory,” the Israeli prime minister said.

Abu Obeida, spokesperson for Hamas’ armed wing, said that the battle that the Qassam Brigades began with its devastating surprise attack on 7 October gave the world “a model of how a fist can challenge a spike.”

In his first video address since November, Abu Obeida added that it showed how a seemingly permanent occupation can become a global pariah.

“If justice existed on earth,” he said, Israel would be disarmed and its leaders and army put on trial and severely punished.

He said that the lack of justice “increases our conviction in the correctness and necessity of what we did on 7 October and what our people and resistance have been doing for decades in confrontation with the occupation.”

Abu Obeida said that with locally made weapons, Qassam had disabled 1,000 military vehicles in 100 days and that its fighters “had maintained their cohesion” during that period. This is “despite the huge disparity in material and military power” between the Palestinian resistance and Israel, and despite the massacres perpetrated by Israel in Gaza, he observed.

Abu Obeida added that the sacrifices and steadfastness of Gaza’s people would be rewarded with God’s “imminent victory ” and entry to the “blessed al-Aqsa mosque” in Jerusalem.

“The dawn of freedom for our entire nation is nearing,” he promised.

250 Palestinians killed per day

For the fourth consecutive day on Tuesday, Gaza was experiencing its seventh and longest telecommunications blackout in three months after two workers on a mission to repair damaged lines were killed in Khan Younis on Saturday.

“The blackout of telecommunications deprives people in Gaza from accessing lifesaving information, preventing people from calling for first responders and impedes other forms of humanitarian response,” according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza reported that some 260 Palestinians were killed between the afternoons of 12 and 14 January. Nearly 24,000 people have been killed in Gaza since 7 October, almost half of them children.

On Monday, 20 people were killed on a strike on a home in the Sabra neighborhood of Gaza City. Six people were reported killed in a strike on a home in the Zeitoun neighborhood east of Gaza City that same day, and four were killed in a strike in al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza. Another 12 people were killed when a house was hit in southern Gaza, OCHA said.

Three Palestinian human rights groups – Al-Haq, Al Mezan and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights – said that “the Israeli military is killing an average of 250 Palestinians per day in Gaza, a higher daily death rate than any other 21st-century armed conflict.”

Thousands more people “remain buried under rubble, whether dead or alive, some enduring this situation for days or even weeks,” the rights groups added.

“Hundreds of bodies are in a state of decay, deprived of the right to a dignified burial, as Israel continues to deny medical and rescue teams access to areas where its troops and soldiers are deployed,” the groups said.

More than 60,300 Palestinians in Gaza have been wounded since 7 October.

Save the Children said that around 1,000 children in Gaza “have lost one or both of their legs, many having them amputated without anesthetic, and will require a lifetime of medical care.”

One in every 100 people in Gaza have been killed and entire neighborhoods have been destroyed. The Palestinian health ministry says that four percent of Gaza’s population has been killed, wounded or is missing under the rubble of destroyed buildings.

Those killed include 117 journalists and media workers, 337 medics, 45 members of the Palestinian Civil Defense and nearly 150 UN employees.

Nearly 85 percent of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million have been forced to leave their homes and are displaced within the territory.

Threat of forcible mass transfer

On Friday, Martin Griffiths, the UN humanitarian relief chief, said that he was “deeply alarmed by recent statements by Israeli ministers regarding plans to encourage the mass transfer of civilians from Gaza to third countries, currently being referred to as ‘voluntary relocation.’”

He added that such statements “raise grave concerns about the possible forcible mass transfer or deportation of the Palestinian population from the Gaza Strip, something that would be strictly prohibited under international law.”

Griffiths said that “any attempt to change the demographic composition of Gaza must be firmly rejected” and urged the UN Security Council to “take urgent action to bring this war to an end.”

The UK-based charity Medical Aid for Palestinians warned that if the current catastrophic situation in Gaza continues for another 100 days, “the unprecedented number of people killed by Israel’s bombardment and bullets will soon be dwarfed by those dying from hunger and disease because of Israel’s siege.”

Humanitarian agencies are still unable to reach northern Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of people remain and haven’t received aid for more than 50 days.

Only 15 out of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are partially functional, with three facilities – Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, Nasser Medical Complex and Gaza European Hospital – at risk of closure after Israel issued evacuation orders in adjacent areas.

Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis is treating 700 patients, double its normal capacity, and thousands of people are sheltering on its grounds. The vicinity of the hospital was struck on Monday, “reportedly killing eight people, and injuring scores of others,” according to UN OCHA.

The World Health Organization delivered fuel and medical supplies to al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on 12 January. Gaza’s largest referral hospital before the war, al-Shifa has reestablished some medical services after being besieged by Israeli forces in November.

Patients are undergoing “avoidable amputations” due to the destruction of Gaza’s health system, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization, said on Sunday. Meanwhile, people with “serious chronic conditions are dying due to the lack of care,” he added.

“Diseases are spreading among a population forced to crowd into ever smaller spaces, with little clean water or access to sanitation,” the UN health chief said.

“Man-made disaster”

Ghebreyesus and the directors of the World Food Program and the UN children’s fund UNICEF said in a joint statement that “a fundamental step change in the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza is urgently needed” as famine and outbreaks of deadly disease loom.

“We can keep famine at bay but only if we can deliver sufficient supplies and have safe access to everyone in need, wherever they are,” said World Food Program director Cindy McCain, who was tapped for her position by US President Joe Biden after she broke Republican ranks and supported his presidential campaign.

Biden has provided unconditional support for Israel’s military offensive in Gaza and has blocked efforts towards a ceasefire, which agencies say is urgently needed to deliver enough aid to stave off a humanitarian catastrophe.

The heads of the UN agencies said that “Israeli authorization to use a working port close to the Gaza Strip and border crossing points into the north is critically needed by aid agencies.”

Philippe Lazzarini, the director of the UN agency for Palestine refugees, said that “the crisis in Gaza is a man-made disaster compounded by dehumanizing language and the use of food, water and fuel as instruments of war.”

Jordan’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that Israel was violating a UN Security Council resolution adopted in December calling for unhindered humanitarian access in all areas of Gaza.

Gallant tries to manufacture victory

Palestinian resistance fighters continue to launch rockets towards Israel, with a large barrage fired on Tuesday from an area in central Gaza where Israeli troops had recently withdrawn from.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that “Israeli tanks stormed back into parts of the northern Gaza Strip they had left last week.”

The agency said that renewed Israeli operations in the north were “reigniting some of the most intense combat since the New Year when Israel announced it was scaling back its operations there.”

Israel has reported 188 soldiers killed since the beginning of the ground invasion of Gaza in late October and 1,135 injuries.

Despite these apparent setbacks, Yoav Gallant, Israel’s defense minister, sought to manufacture a victory in Gaza on Monday. He said that the military had ended the “intensive phase” of the ground invasion of the north and will soon wind down in Khan Younis in the south.

Gallant claimed that Israel had dismantled Hamas’ “battalion frameworks” in the north, where the military is now “working to eliminate pockets of resistance.”

He added that “we are destroying Hamas’ military industry, its [weapon] production centers” in central Gaza and troops were focused on the Hamas leadership in Khan Younis.

Israeli ground forces haven’t yet conducted major operations in Rafah, along the Egyptian border, where Palestinians displaced from areas across Gaza have been concentrated in squalid conditions.

Up to 1.8 million people are currently in Rafah, “which used to have a population of around 250,000,” according to UN humanitarian coordinator Jamie McGoldrick.

Israeli protesters call for new elections

Gallant said that only military pressure would secure the release of the more than 100 captives remaining in Gaza since being captured during Hamas’ 7 October assault.

The defense minister and Netanyahu have come under fierce criticism from relatives of many of the captives, who say the government is prioritizing fighting Hamas over the safe return of their loved ones.

Netanyahu’s government is also being protested more generally.

Thousands of people demonstrated in Tel Aviv earlier this month to demand elections over what they said was the government’s failures before, during and after 7 October.

Moshe Yaalon, a former Israeli defense minister, said at the Tel Aviv protest that the government hadn’t yet determined its war goals in Gaza and excoriated far-right ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir, “who made it clear that they were ready to sacrifice [the captives] on the altar of their messianic worldview.”

The Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, have warned that the longer the war goes on in Gaza, the less likely the captives will leave alive.

On Monday, Qassam published a video showing the dead bodies of two Israeli captives who a third captive says in the same video were killed in airstrikes on Gaza.

The Israeli military anticipates fighting in Gaza throughout 2024 “as Israel works to strip Hamas of its military and governing capabilities,” according to The Times of Israel.

But pressure is mounting on Israel for a ceasefire.

The International Court of Justice at The Hague could issue a provisional measure to freeze hostilities in Gaza ahead of lengthier proceedings following South Africa’s complaint alleging that Israel is violating the 1948 Genocide Convention.

Risk of wider war

Marking 100 days since Hamas’ military operation and the beginning of Israel’s aggression on Gaza, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said he was “deeply troubled by the clear violation of international humanitarian law that we are witnessing.”

Guterres also noted “the cauldron of tensions in the occupied West Bank” and warned that the escalation of hostilities in the Red Sea “may soon be impossible to contain.”

He said that the “daily exchanges of fire” across the Lebanese-Israel border “risks triggering a broader escalation … profoundly affecting regional stability.”

Guterres said that an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” was needed to address all of these concerns and “to tamp down the flames of wider war.”

He reiterated that “the longer the conflict in Gaza continues, the greater the risk of escalation and miscalculation.”

While the US remains firmly committed to prolonging Israel’s genocidal campaign in Gaza, other states are calling for a genuine process towards the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, the prime minister of Qatar, said at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week said that third states will be unwilling to finance the reconstruction of Gaza if they think it will be destroyed again in a future escalation.

Al-Thani said that he doesn’t see the situation returning to the status quo before 7 October or states pledging to rebuild “unless we address the real issue, which is the two-state solution.”

Noting its rejection of Arab peace proposals, Al-Thani said, “we cannot leave this just in the hands of the Israelis.”

Jordan’s Prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh said at the Davos forum that a mass expulsion of Palestinians from the West Bank would violate the state’s 1994 peace agreement with Israel.

Like his Qatari counterpart, Khasawneh said that “the only solution to avoid deeper conflict and regional instability was to put in place a political process with a time frame that leads to a two-state solution,” Reuters reported, paraphrasing the prime minister’s remarks.

In Egypt on Sunday, China’s foreign minister called for “the convening of a larger-scale, more authoritative and more effective international peace conference” and for establishing a timetable and binding road map for implementing the two-state solution.

Moribund in recent years, bilateral negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians were for decades brokered by the US. But Washington has destroyed any pretense of impartiality by fully partnering in Israel’s genocidal campaign in Gaza and is unlikely to resume that role in the future.

Earlier this year, China brokered a historic reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran and indicated its willingness to mediate between Palestinians and Israelis.

Saudi Arabia has indicated its intention to resume efforts towards normalization with Israel in exchange for a US defense pact, but says that “could only happen through peace for the Palestinians through a Palestinian state,” as Prince Faisal bin Farhan stated at Davos on Tuesday.




Al-Thani said, “we cannot leave this just in the hands of the Israelis.” I cannot agree more: get the hands of the "Israelis" or US or EU or NATO or Canada OFF Palestine and in saner hands - like China, Russia, or Iran.

Hamas is the sane ones; US and its vassals are mad, psychopathic.

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Maureen Clare Murphy

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Maureen Clare Murphy is senior editor of The Electronic Intifada.